Grand Popo Old Town was important during the slave trade, but now is half deserted and run-down in parts. It is well worth taking a walk around the old town though because it is very charming and quite a lot of people still live there. You can see the abandoned old Dutch warehouse, and the quaint old crumbling colonial houses mixed in with the well...more
We visited one of the small villages along the riverbank as part of our boat trip on the Mono River, as we couldn't get into the Mangroves to explore because the water level was too low for our boat. This village was called Avlo, with a population of 600, and as our boat approached the landing area the group of children standing on the bank...more
The villages along the Mono River earn their living from fishing and some also make salt. Avlo village which we visited is one of these.To make the salt they take sand from the mangroves which they mix with water and filter in a big traditional basket made from mangrove branches. The mixture is then tested for salinity in a bowl with Kola nuts. If...more
The beach in Grand Popo stretches all the way to Lome in Togo in one direction and to Cotonou in the other direction. At Grand Popo it is really lovely - wide with dark golden sand and plenty of space. I visited at Easter time and even then you wouldn't call it crowded. You can't swim in the sea as it is too rough but there is plenty to see on and...more
The Mono River is 500km long and flows from Togo into the sea at Grand Popo. Our boat trip took about 2 hours in a motor boat which had a cover to shade us from the sun, and travelled at a leisurely pace so there was plenty of opportunity to take photographs.We passed a temple of the Voodoo God Zangbeto and many other temples along the way. The...more
When I first saw this stadium right on the beach I thought it must be what most stadiums are for nowadays - football, or at least some kind of sport. But why on a sandy beach? This being Benin, it is for the annual Voodoo festival that takes place in Grand Popo in January. The main festival is in the sacred forest of Ouidah but Grand Popo, which is...more
Grand Popo is a great place for birdwatching. I just wish I had taken binoculars.Around the beach area and the gardens of the Auberge Grand Popo there are many types of birds, which make quite a noise early mornings and late afternoons. They are a bit difficult to see as the trees are quite thick but I saw Sunbirds, Parrots, Weavers and many...more
The traditional religion of Voodoo is very popular in Grand Popo, particularly in the Old Town and in the villages along the Mono River. If you take a boat trip along the river you will pass many temples along the riverbank where the small villages are. If you walk down to the Old Town past Auberge Grand Popo you will pass 2 temples very close...more
The Auberge Grand Popo has a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach, set in beautiful gardens. It is open on 3 sides to take adfantage of the cooling sea breezes.
Food here is excellent. I had lamb tagine which was very nicely cooked and there was plenty of it. As usual in Benin the meat is of the highest quality and being organic is very tasty. The accompanying vegetables were also beautifully tasty and organic and I got a generous helping too. I couldn't fit in either starter or dessert as I was brought a basket of freshly baked French bread with really good quality butter, while I waited for my meal. I managed a couple of bottles of Beninoise beer though. The daily menu is written on a board and has about 6 starters and 6 main courses as well as desserts. There is a good choice and being on the beach there are plenty of fish dishes to choose from.
Service is very good, in a relaxed sort of way - not formal. Not many of the staff speak English but ordering was not much of a problem. For the quality of food and the location this restaurant is quite good value.
Dinner is about 4000 CFA (€6), Mineral Water 700 CFA (€1) and Beninoise local beer 1200 CFA (€2).
The sea at Grand Popo really isn't safe to swim in. When I visited in March the waves were very high and there were many of them close together. Also the shore shelves very steeply and the waves break right in the dip. Even though it was Easter and the beach was as crowded as it gets here I didn't see anybody swim. When I ventured in for a paddle I could feel how powerful the currents were and didn't go deeper than my knees. Being the Atlantic it's cold too!